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Acquisitions Management in the Department of Defense Research Paper

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Updated: Jun 8th, 2022

Acquisition and procurement management is an integral part of any enterprise located in the economy of any country. However, special attention should be paid to this issue when it comes to government levels. The purpose of the paper is to explore the concept of acquisition management in the context of a Department of Defense through various case studies.

First of all, to analyze the management process, it is necessary to get acquainted with the basic concepts applicable to this topic. A country’s defense budget is not a single document, but a series of decrees, each of which can address this issue from different angles (Tyszkiewicz & Daggett, 1998). For the most accurate budgeting, the components must be allocated according to budgetary authority, commitment, and expenditure. In the United States, most of these powers are vested in Congress, thus determining the Department of Defense’s future funds. The distribution of these supplies occurs in three stages, among which the first two are the direct request for funds by the Department and the consideration of this application in Congress (Tyszkiewicz & Daggett, 1998). Only after this does the stage of actual management of the funds received to begin.

For the successful allocation of limited resources, a three-factor approach is used to determine the spheres of influence and, accordingly, their priority. The first and largest decision aid system is the Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution Process, responsible for all funding processes for each department (Brown, 2010). The Joint Capabilities Integration and Development System is a somewhat narrower arrangement defining specific combat actions, details of operations, and associated technologies. Finally, The Defense Acquisition System concretizes the previous system’s requests and implements them in a practical application, i.e., specific systems used. All acquisition categories are broken down into three tiers to facilitate marketing decisions according to the scale of procurement and the level of authority required (Brown, 2010). For brevity, these levels are called ACAT and are numbered from top to bottom in descending order of cost and decision importance. Similar categories are defined for both weapon systems and support equipment and automatic data systems.

Thus, after the allocation of funds by Congress, allocating them to the necessary programs begins following the chain of authority. In general, this chain can be represented by four links, the lowest of which is the Program Manager (Brown, 2010). Each of them is responsible for a program and its actual execution. These individuals can report directly to the senior official in the form of a Component Acquisition Executive or through Program Executive Officers (Brown, 2010). Finally, the management chain is closed on the Defense Acquisition Executive, who are overseers over the entire process. However, despite their control, the final decision can be made by the immediate supervisors of specific programs, since, at this level, only basic management is carried out.

Members of this position are responsible for the allocation of resources within all Department of Defense systems. These include logistics, military structures, environmental safety, nuclear and biological threat surveillance, and finally, research and development (Brown, 2010). Particular attention is paid to this area, since it is the military sphere that primarily drives progress, helping to create breakthrough technologies. According to Sargent, Gallo, and Schwarz (2018), the importance of the Department of Defense’s influence on R&D was underlined by the overwhelming force of the United States in the global development arena. However, to date, America’s leadership in this area has declined due to the development of other countries and a decrease in allocated funds. According to Bangert, Davies, and Watson (2017), this increases the need for better management as the price of defense equipment escalates. Therefore, a revision of the current administration and resource allocation system is necessary as it can lead to an increasing cost cycle.

Thus, the management process in the Department of Defense is complex and multifaceted. Congress plays an essential role in determining the state’s defense budget, directly allocating the necessary funds. Only after this can the Department begin to distribute following the internal structure and the need for the development of a particular area.


Bangert, D., Davies, N., & Watson, R. (2017). Managing Defence Acquisition Cost Growth. The RUSI Journal, 162(1), 60-67.

Brown, B. (2010). Introduction to defence acquisition management. Washington, Government Printing Office.

Sargent, J. F., Gallo, M., & Schwarz, M. (2018). The global research and development landscape and implications for the department of defence. Congressional Research Service Report, 45403.

Tyszkiewicz, M. T., & Daggett, S. (1998). A defense budget primer. Library of Congress Washington DC Congressional Research Service.

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